Land of Oz, USA

Bill Neinast

Yes, Virginia, there was a Land of Oz.  

L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published in 1900.  This was followed by The Land of Oz in1904 and a series of books about the fictional land of Oz followed soon after. 

For the first five or six decades of the last century, however, there was a real Land of Oz.   The real Oz existed right here in the U.S.A.

These decades were the times of families.  Nearly every family was blessed with two parents.  The rare single parent family was normally due to an early death of either the husband or wife.

In those families, children were taught to obey the rules, respect authority, and to become self-sufficient.  

The first rules were those laid down by Mom and Dad.  You have to bring in and stack the stove wood, you have to sweep the floors, you have to be in bed by 10:00 p.m., etc.  Break the rules, and you suffered the consequences.

Before the advent of Dr. Spock in the sixth decade, those consequences might be a paddling.  The hand delivering the swat might sting more than the rear on which it landed, but the message was loud and clear.  Unpleasant consequences could be expected from each breaking of a rule.

In these families, the parents set the pattern for following rules by obeying all the rules, regulations, and laws laid down by their Big Daddy—the government.

Whether you liked the rule or law was of no consequence.  If the rule was made by a proper authority—your parents, your teachers, or the government—you obeyed or followed it.

In this land of Oz where every child, adult, and authority practiced following the rules on a daily basis, society seemed more “civilized” than it does today.

Currently, the situation is just the opposite.  Now, if you do not like a rule or law, feel free to ignore it.

The worst part of this new attitude is that police authorities, the very people who are charged with enforcing the law, are the most visible group ignoring laws they do not like.

These are the sanctuary cities and states.  They do not like the federal government enforcing immigration laws, so they refuse to help in evicting criminal immigrants from our country.

The sanctuary cities and states seem to give no thought to the message they are sending to the community.   That message, though, is coming through loud and clear.  

Contrary to what we were taught early in the last century, the code of conduct from the highest authority now is, if you don’t like a rule, there is no need to follow it.

How can law and order be enforced under those conditions?

We should all be thankful, therefore, that sanctuary cities are now outlawed in Texas.   Sunday, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law that bans such cities and levies fines, jail time and removal from office on non compliant law enforcement officers.

Reaction to this law will be interesting.  Protest marches and legal challenges are already planned.  The marches, as always, will fizzle and accomplish nothing except pulling some law enforcement officials in for crowd control instead of patrolling their regular beats.

How the lawsuits will turn out is anyone’s guess.

Neither the protests nor the court proceedings will affect other phenomena reducing the role of police officials supplementing the role of Mom and Dad teaching that rules must be followed.

The so called Ferguson Effect is now in play.  This is the aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown as he tried to grab the weapon of a Ferguson, Missouri, policeman.

The “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot” and “Cops are Pigs” movements that grew out of that incident have caused policemen to be extremely cautious in enforcing some laws.

Finally, budget shortfalls in cities like Houston have resulted in severe shortages of policemen.  This means that burglaries and other violations that are called minor crimes are ignored so that the available resources can concentrate on murder, rape, aggravated assault and other serious crimes..

So here’s the perspective.

The Land of Oz began to crumble with the proliferation of single parent families.  

The crumbling is currently being exacerbated by the tendency of law enforcement officers operating on the philosophy of “boys will be boys,” so leave them alone.

Can that deterioration be halted and a new path taken to the nirvana of the old Land of Oz?

Who knows?


HOME page>                  NEW STUFF page> 
          WRITING CONTENT page>       GUEST ARTISTS page>Home_1.htmlNew_Stuff.htmlEssays.htmlGuest_Artists.htmlshapeimage_1_link_0shapeimage_1_link_1shapeimage_1_link_2shapeimage_1_link_3